Leaders angered by Museveni remarks, wants apology

By Abigael Sum

WEST POKOT, KENYA: Leaders from west Pokot County lashed out at the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni over his remarks on cattle rustling in which he insinuated that the Pokot Community are thieves.

President Museveni who spoke on behalf of all invited Heads of States during the Inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani caused laughter at the end of his speech when he urged President Kenyatta to intervene in the cattle-rustling menace in West Pokot that has extended to his Country.

“When I arrived in Kenya, I met this MP from West Pokot. The people of West Pokot are used to stealing my cattle. I have now agreed with this MP that they will now stop stealing my animals,” he said.

These remarks have so far elicited rage from Members of Parliament from West Pokot County who denied claims of meeting with the Ugandan President.

The enraged MPs, David Pkosing, Mark Lomunokol and Philip Rotino expressed their disappointment with Museveni saying that such statement even though made on a lighter note, tends to demonize a whole community.

“In as much as these remarks could pass off as soft, friendly and populist, we are not averse to the grave repercussions that the remarks could have in mopping ethnic passions and cross border tensions especially among pastoralist communities in the said regions,” said Pkosing who is the MP for Pokot South..

The MPs said cattle rustling is a practice carried out by criminals cutting across boundaries of ethnicity, state, color, religion or gender and therefore not a preserve of the Pokot Community.

Kachaliba MP, Mark Lomunokol said the president’s remarks were not misplaced but ill advised.

They leaders now demand an apology from President Museveni over his remarks that they fear could awaken cattle rustling that has since gone down in the region.

“Museveni’s remarks could only reawaken this menace that has devastating effects on not only property but also human life. We therefore find this attempt at stereotyping not only disturbing but a genuine cause for a demand for an unreserved apology,” noted Pkosing.

The MPs also dismissed Deputy President’s response to President Museveni that appeared to be supporting his remarks on cattle rustling in the Pokot region.

The three MPs called on the new government to ignore the statement by Uganda’s president and instead heighten security and invest in development projects in these areas.